After losing yesterday and falling to 1-7 on the season, the Tampa Bay Rays hand the ball to Jeff Niemann to help get them their second win. Niemann will be facing Gavin Floyd, a 28-year-old right hander that posted an ERA just over four each of the past two seasons.
Floyd is a slightly above average starting pitcher, and his peripheral statistics suggest that he's better than his ERA would suggest: he strikes out around seven batters per nine will limiting walks, and he had a 50% groundball rate last season. He's not an ace, but with the way the Rays have been struggling on offense, he is likely still good enough to make them a struggle.
Niemann is coming off a disappointing first start, in which he allowed five runs in only six innings. Most of his struggles came in the first two innings, after which he settled down and pitched effectively, but his final line was less than impressive: he struck out four while allowing nine total hits, including one homerun. Hopefully Niemann's early struggles were simply a result of it being his first start of the season, as the Rays' offense is considerably weaker without Evan Longoria or Manny Ramirez.
Rays' Lineup: Courtesy of Marc Topkin:
D. Johnson 1b